Target goes dorm chic; also: Alliant goes to Mars, NWA fuel surcharge goes up and small firm goes big time

Dorm-room chic: Target announced it’s launching an exclusive line of back-to-college bedding, furniture and accessories by celebrity designer Sami Hayek. The brother of actress Salma Hayek, Sami Hayek has designed $700,000 entertainment centers for clients like Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Now add to that resume the $150 self-assemble office desk you’ll be struggling to put together for your son or daughter come September. The collection also includes things like lamps, bookshelves and photo frames. A goal was to minimize waste, so some of the packaging doubles as CD holders or file folders. 

From Edina to Mars: As NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander begins cruising the Red Planet for signs of life this week, it’s getting its juice from a unique set of solar panel arrays made by Alliant Techsystems of Edina. After the vehicle landed on Sunday, the 2.1-meter-wide solar arrays unfolded like oriental fans from the side of the vehicle. They’ll provide Phoenix with 770 watts of power, less than half what they would generate on Earth because Mars is farther from the sun. It’s the first time the ATK solar arrays have been used on a space flight. 

Meanwhile, no technological advances reported over the weekend when it comes to flying on this planet. It’s the same old story for the airlines industry: rising fuel costs plus slumping demand equals more fees and surcharges. Northwest Airlines announced before the weekend that it’s raising its fuel surcharge for cargo service. The Business Journal reports the airline is also considering following the lead of American Airlines and charging customers for all checked luggage.

The Business Agenda typically focuses on high-profile Minnesota companies, either major employers or Fortune 1000 firms. But I witnessed a small business pull off a major feat Sunday that deserves mentioning. Rhymesayers Entertainment, the Minneapolis-based independent hip-hop record label, attracted 12,000 people to an outdoor concert featuring mostly local musicians. The concert not only proved their popularity, the Strib’s Chris Riemenschneider noted, but it also disproved the theory you need major-label acts and corporate radio station support to throw a successful festival. Interestingly, too, Rhymesayers is on the cover of the June issue of Twin Cities Business magazine, which isn’t online yet. (Disclosure: I occasionally write for Twin Cities Business.) 

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